Louisiana LAfayette made a bowl Game last year, but it came with LSU transfer Anthony Jennings at quarterback. Jordan Davis was supposed to take the role, but was relegated to backup and now has to fight for the starting gig yet again in 2017. If the new quarterback can’t match what Jennings did (11 TDs, 13 INTs), a bowl Game for the Ragin’ Cajuns may not be in the cards.
Davis looked better in the spring, but will still get competition for the job with Andre Nunez, a juco transfer. After scoring 23.6 points per Game, a new quarterback isn’t a recipe to improve that total, especially with stud RB Elijah McGuire also gone. Louisiana will have to turn to a committee in the backfield with Darius Hoggins (281 yards) the expected starter early on with competition form a couple underclassmen. They also lost their top receiver, but Keenan Barnes (418 yards, 6 TDs) and Ja’Marcus Bradley (370 yards) should help the new quarterback transition just fine. Even better, the line returns Four starters and could at least give the offense more consistency than a year ago.
The defense was the better side of the ball last year (25.3 points per Game allowed) and that could be the case again even with a couple new linebackers in the middle. Talent returning on the line should keep this group as one of the better run stoppers in the league with end Joe Dillon and tackle Taboris Lee the key parts. The secondary also has a chance to improve with Four starters back and some talented transfers.
The problem for the Cajuns this year in addition to new players at skill positions is the seven Games on the road. Winning at Tulsa will be important in non-Conference play and if that doesn’t happen, they could be headed to three loses outside of the Sun Belt. Things don’t get better from there with Louisiana having to travel to the expected top three teams in the Conference at Idaho, App. State and ASU. That leaves the Cajuns at six possible wins still with a road Game at South Alabama and a home test against Georgia Southern.
Even with a difficult Schedule, Louisiana still had the Fourth-best odds at +1500 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the Sun Belt. Given the Schedule, that’s a big ask and touching their over/under of five will also be difficult to bet on. The Ragin’ Cajuns could be a better team than a year ago, but that’ll require Davis to provide stability at quarterback to help them overcome a rough Schedule.
2017 Louisiana LAfayette Ragin’ Cajuns Football Schedule
Sept. 2 vs. Southeastern Louisiana
Sept. 9 at Tulsa
Sept. 16 at Texas A&M
Sept. 23 vs. UL Monroe
Oct. 7 at Idaho
Oct. 12 vs. Texas State
Oct. 19 at Arkansas State
Nov. 4 at South Alabama
Nov. 11 at Ole Miss
Nov. 18 vs. New Mexico State
Nov. 25 vs. Georgia Southern
Dec. 2 at Appalachian State